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April 29, 2010

Making an Herbal Tincture in your Kitchen

Filed under: herbals and fruit blends,Tea and Health — wbwingert @ 9:18 am

Tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts. They are more potent than infusions and deliver a more consistent amount of the plant’s healthy chemical compounds. They are best taken diluted in warm water or juice.
How to Make Your Own Lemon Balm Tincture
Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis is a great herb to use if you need a little relaxation or have a nervous stomach. It helps those frayed nerves to calm down.:
What you need:
– Fresh or dried lemon balm
– Cutting board, knife or food processor
– A clean glass jar (mason jar )
– Solvent of choice (grain alcohol (e.g. vodka), glycerin)
– Funnel
– Labels

Step 1: Chop the herbs either by hand or in the food processor. Often dried herbs are already cut and sifted and don’t need to be ground any further.

Step 2: Place 1 part of the herb to 5 parts liquid in the jar. Liquid needs to cover the herb well. Label the jar (name of herb and date) and place the jar in a warm, dark place for at least 4 weeks. The longer the herb sits in the solvent, the more potent the tincture will be. Shake the jar daily and add more liquid if necessary.

Step3: Strain the tincture through a fine wire-mesh strainer lined with a cheesecloth or coffee filter, in to a measuring cup.

Step 4: Pour the liquid carefully into dark bottles, using a funnel and label these with the name of the herbal and date of preparation.

April 23, 2010

2010 Tea Harvest Suffers Due to Severe Weather

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 9:49 am

Tea harvest in China

Spring is the time for harvesting the first tender buds of th tea plant, and many tea lovers are excited about tasting the new crop.  Tea is an agricultural product like wine and just like the production of wine, the yield, character, color and flavor of each  tea is determined by a long list of variable factors.  Some of these are the location of the plantation, altitude, climate, seasonal changes, cultivation and plucking methods and processisng of the leaves.

Unfortunatley, this year, the weather has been anything but kind to the tea plants in many different growing regions of the world.

  • In Sri Lanka, tea growers experienced a 12% drop in crop production due to poor weather. Since Sri Lanka is a large tea exporter of particularly black and oolong tea, this means that there will be less of these teas on the world market, thus effecting their price.
  • The same holds true for Kenya and South India – both producers of black teas.
  • According to a report published by the World Tea News, many key areas in China have experienced critical rain shortfalls or lingering cold temperatures. Cold weather has damaged the tender young shoots of the tea plants in many regions  and in the West Lake are, which is famous for the production of Dragon Well (Lung Ching), farmers expect significant losses due to the coldest spring in 10 years.
  • The Yunnan region, where Pu-erh and black teas are produced, the worst drought in 50 years has delayed the harvest and greatly reduced the yield – also resulting in increased wholesale prices for the 2010 crop. 

The best recommendation I have for consumers is to stock up on the still available 2009 harvest because once this year’s teas hit the market, all of us tea drinkers must be prepared to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

April 13, 2010

Souvia Saturday Forum: “Finding Your Inner Voice”

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 11:00 am

Andrea Beaulieu


Yellow Tea, Allergies and News

Filed under: Newsletter — wbwingert @ 9:32 am


Unable to view this newsletter?  

Coming up…


Natural Allergy Relief


Yellow Tea



 Huang Shan Mountain

 Yellow Tea will be in

the store and online in






 Stinging Nettle is a

natural allergy remedy






“Morning After” is a

pleasant tasting detoxifying

blend exclusive to Souvia!



Souvia Tea now available at:


Java Spa in the Sachi Salon


Water Mart in Old Town


Royal Coffee at the Phoenix

Public Market


Nature’s Garden Delivered


L’Amore Restaurant


 More to come…







Coming up

Everything is in bloom here, people are planting gardens and the citrus blossoms perfume the air.  May 1st is National Herb day – while we all use herbs for cooking they have many other uses.  Get to know more about herbs and how they can contribute to our health.

  • Thursday Aprril 22nd is Earth Day, we’ll fill your Souvia travel mugs with a tea of the day for free – Don’t have one? Buy one and we will throw in 50g of tea.
  • John Vousden is back! Hear the wonderful sounds of his classical guitar and enjoy 2-for-1 pots of tea during our Friday Healthy Hour from 4pm-6pm.
  • Did you know we offer prepared tea for large groups?  We can make tea to go for groups up to 100 people
  • The popular Souvia Saturday Forums continue on April 17th with Andrea Beaulieu – “Finding your Authentic .Voice” and on May 8th with Dr. James Moore – Digestive Health these sessions are informal and allow for Q&A – always 10am to Noon
  • Over 200 people attended the Yixing Exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum – One of the pots on display came from Souvia as an example of modern designs
  • We have the final Tea Tuesday at the Kerr Cultural Center on May 4th
  • Pear Helene and Sencha Pina Colada will return in June


Kerstin’s Herbal Corner:  Nettle

Stinging NettleName: Urtica dioica

Parts used:  fresh or dried leaves

Use:  Internal and external

Contraindications:  None known

Side Effects:  None known

Drug Interactions:  None known

Character: cool, dry, astringent

Actions:  astringent, diuretic, tonic, nutritive, circulatory stimulant, promotes  milk flow, lowers blood sugar levels,


It is the season……Allergy season that is! Everything is in bloom and many of us have a difficult time seeing nature blooming and blossoming out of our watery and itchy eyes. Allergies are rampant this time of year and many of my customers have asked me if there isn’t a way to treat allergy symptoms naturally. There is indeed!

Nettle is one of the most effective natural treatment for allergies, especially itchy eyes and sneezing. The reason for this is that stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories which can open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages and thereby reducing unpleasant allergy symptoms.


Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, uses and and recommends this herb for seasonal allergies and in 1990, the National College for Naturopathic Medicine in Portland Oregon was able to scientifically support what herbalists have known for a long time. There, a double-blind study was conducted to explore the efficacy of a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle on allergic rhinitis. The study showed that the group treated with the nettle preparation showed moderately better results than the participants in the control group which were given a placebo.


(As with any medication, botanical or otherwise, before pursuing a course of self-treatment, always consult your physician if you are pregnant, nursing a baby, or being treated for any serious condition.)


In addition to helping relief allergy symptoms, stinging nettle has many other benefits and makes a delicious tasting infusion:

  • Nettle leaf is a blood builder
  • It is rich in calcium and  Vitamin C (which aids iron absorption)
  • It is used to reduce uric acid and to treat gout and arthritis
  • Acts like a light laxative and diuretic (high in potassium)
  • Used to treat skin conditions (eczema)
  • Builds adrenal and kidney function

How to make an infusion: 

1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves per 6oz water, steep anywhere from 5-15 minutes. (The longer the steeping time the more potent the medical properties of the infusion)

Yellow Tea

Huang Shan Mountains - Photo by Chi KinHuan Shang Mountain – Yellow Tea is an example of classic tea manufacture. This renowned tea grows in high elevation of the rocky Shan mountains in China’s Anhui province. Cloudy and misty conditions as well as special processing are responsible for the naturally lighter and sweeter note.


Yellow tea is processed like green tea, but undergoes an extra step between withering and drying. This step is called “men huan” and consists of slightly steaming the leaves before drying them.  During the slower drying phase, the tea leaves take on a green-yellowish color and they loose the vegetal flavor otherwise typical for green teas


Yellow tea has the same antioxidants as green tea.


Since the manufacture of yellow tea is very complex and time consuming, this variety is probably the least produced and least known of all teas.  Although we have tasted yellow teas before, this is the first one we have carried in the store.  If you have wanted to try a yellow tea this is a fine example and it will be available in May.

Thanks for Reading

Win a $10 Souvia Gift card for answering the following question – Other than nettle what is another detoxifying herb?   Send your answers to  We had 3 winners last month for the Travel Mugs.  I will draw 3 winners this month…


We hope you’ll visit us in the store, at one of our partners or online soon.  If you can’t get in remember… we ship same day and your tea will arrive quickly!



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